Once the field was announced and the Academy had neglected to “go its own way” and select films outside of those pre-ordained by assorted critics’ groups as the year’s best, it really did seem as if the great “Lincoln” tidal wave had subsided, that “Les Miserables” was set for one and only one major honor, that “Silver Linings Playbook” was fated to go the same way, that “Django Unchained” was lucky to even be nominated and that underdog actors (Naomi Watts in “The Impossible”), films or directors had much of a shot.
There are, of course, tea-leaf readers who stick with that “The Academy is old, and ‘Lincoln’ was their kind of movie” prediction — proven a dated form of analysis lo these many years.
Go here if you want ceaseless “Zero Dark Thirty” (or “Silver Linings Playbook”) cheerleading as prognostication.
We will almost certainly have a best picture that wasn’t directed by a nominated best director. “Argo” being the favorite, “Zero Dark Thirty” having a shot.
Spielberg? He could be the best director winner, by default. Love to see Benh Zeitlin sneak in there, but I have no quibble with “Lincoln” winning. “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is unique and feels like an epic one-off. Ben Affleck, as I have said many times, is Warner’s new Clint Eastwood — reliable, prestige pictures that turn out to be hits. He’ll get his due, hopefully in short order. Pity about no “Argo” nomination, though.
I truly hate to see the wonderful Jennifer Lawrence win the best actress Oscar so young. She’s great in “Silver Linings Playbook,” the pre-Oscar honors have been falling her way. But the movie is a lightweight thing, and she’s so consistently good that you have to figure she’ll score another nomination or two down the road.
Naomi Watts was better in “The Impossible,” no matter what the Screen Actor’s Guild says.
Robert DeNiro was a fascinating “type” in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Some see this as his last best shot at an Oscar. He hasn’t been in a lot of nomination-worthy productions of late, but he is justifiably lauded as one of the greatest actors in an era of great actors — the Duvall to Jeff Bridges generation.
But the Tommy Lee Jones SAG win makes one wonder if the showier performance will be the one to take home the prize.
In any event, Streisand will sing and generations of James Bond will be trotted out. And there will be surprises on Oscar night. But right now, it doesn’t look like there’ll be many of them.